Even before Duterte assumed the highest office in the Philippines, his hardline rhetoric on drug addicts and his link to so-called “death squads” in the city of Davao, where he served as mayor, alarmed human rights advocates at home and in the international community. Since his inauguration, his promised war on drugs has been even bloodier than expected, with about 3,000 killed without trial by police and vigilantes in highly publicized street-style executions.
On Friday, Duterte lashed back at his international critics, including the European Union and the United Nations, who he said had unfairly likened him to “a cousin of Hitler.” However, just a few minutes later, he himself seemed to accept the parallel to the Nazi leader, saying, “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there’s three million drug addicts. ... I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Doing so, he added, would “finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.” (His oft-cited “three million drug addicts” number is not confirmed by the Philippines agency tasked with tracking illegal drug use; they estimate 1.8 million.)
Unfortunately, this is just the latest outrageous statement Duterte has made in response to his international critics. His domestic opponents, meanwhile, have not been any more successful in stemming the tide of extrajudicial killings. A little over a week ago, his main Philippine challenger, Senator Leila de Lima, was removed from her leadership on the justice committee, where she had launched several investigations into the killings. So far, it is clear that censure has only served to incite Duterte further, which is apparent in his latest comments about Hitler.